The Evolution of a Smoothie

Hi Friends!

Happy Tuesday! If you’re a long-time reader of my blog, you’re probably quite aware of how much I love smoothies. I LOVE them. Always have. I love the endless combinations, I love how quick and easy they are and most recently, I love how healthy you can make them.

Confession: In December of 2010, I posted about making my first green monster. Then I promptly forgot about them and reverted back to my normal fruit-filled smoothies.

If you looked at my smoothies from last summer, they would look something like this:

Packed with fruit, fruit juice and ice…and that’s about it.


Sometime during the summer of 2011, I decided I needed to get a little more serious about boosting the nutritional value of my smoothies. But I’m a creature of habit, so I wanted to ease into it!

In August, I added chia seeds to my smoothie for the first time and ate it out of a bowl because I loved how thick they made it!

In the fall of 2011, I was running a lot (for me) and I was having trouble finding things my stomach could handle eating after running. In October, I tried adding oatmeal to my smoothies for some post-run fuel.  It worked out perfectly for me.

In December and January, I gradually started adding spinach to my smoothies again. It started with a very small handful….and that handful gradually increased in size over the following weeks. At the same time, I made the switch from using flavored Greek yogurts in my smoothies to plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. I started by switching to half flavored-half plain, and then eventually phased out the flavored kind all together.

Pretty soon I was buying giant tubs of spinach & plain Greek yogurt at Costco to fuel my smoothie habit :)

Using these methods, I was even able to get the hubby hooked on green monsters. And yes, I call them green monsters. Even though mine are not totally green, and still have fruit in them….the fact that there is a green vegetable in my smoothies is a MAJOR accomplishment for me!

We’re now in March of 2012. I’ve decided that peaches are my favorite fruit for hiding the spinach taste. If I use just peaches instead of a berry-peach combo, and some extra spinach,  the smoothies get particularly green!

Most days though, I’m happy with my combination of a few frozen peaches and berries, a giant handful of spinach, several scoops of plain greek yogurt, some ice cubes, a splash of OJ and some chia seeds.

I know a lot of people add protein powder to their smoothies. I’ve tried a few brands but I’m SUPER picky about the taste of protein powders. I hate the chalky taste that most have, and I really hate the flavors, even chocolate and vanilla. But, if any of you use a really good kind that has no taste, I’d be all over that…. so let me know!!

So tell me: Are you a smoothie drinker? What do you do to make yours healthier? Leave the link to your favorite recipe if you have one!

Today’s Workout- Quick Med Ball Abs!



PS. I participated in a UK-US Food blogger swap and my goodies finally came in the mail the other day!!! Check out what I got from across the pond:

Loved these!

All sorts of fun bars!
So far I’ve tried the cocoa mint one and loved it!

Big thanks to Nicky at Kabocha Fashionista for hooking me up :)

About Lindsay

Lindsay Livingston is a Registered Dietitian and new mom from Columbus, Ohio. On her blog, she shares simple, healthy recipes, nutrition tips, workouts and snapshots of her life. Follow her on Twitter @LeanGrnBeanBlog and Instagram @TheLeanGreenBean and be sure to subscribe via RSS or email so you never miss a post!


  1. I find that adding a frozen banana really helps disguise the taste of spinach and protein powders and my new favorite addition is frozen pineapple from TJ’s – yum! The ONLY protein powder that I really like is Dr. Mercola’s Pro-Optimal Whey in Strawberry, but it’s insanely expensive, so I’ve making do with some cheaper vanilla kind (ick).
    Maria recently posted..From A to Z Survey

  2. Linz @ Itz Linz says:

    I always add spinach to smoothies! I really like dóTERRAs vanilla protein powder… It is not chalky whatsoever! I also like to add wheat germ and ground flaxseeds for some extra nutrients :)
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..Slice!

  3. i love putting spinach in my smoothies! usually mine never turn out green – just a brownish sort of color, but i still call them green monsters too :)

    currently my favorite smoothie is frozen mixed berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries), spinach, vanilla protein powder, and almond milk. i am really picky about my protein powders and the one i put in smoothies is the whole foods brand whey powder. i don’t use it in anything else but smoothies and the texture hasn’t bothered me. another favorite powder is jay robb vanilla whey – but that stuff is super expensive so i always just get the cheaper WF kind.
    Julianna @ Julianna Bananna recently posted..Peanut Butter Protein Pancake {single-lady style}.

  4. I use the GNC Pro Performance Unflavored Whey Protein. You cannot taste it when mixed in with all the other stuff in the smoothie. Which, my recipe is almost identical to yours!
    Samantha recently posted..Monday Love: Marathon Training Edition

  5. Those Nak’d Bars must be the UK equivalent to a Larabar because I was definitely hooked up with a bunch of their products, too!

    As for the smoothie situation…I STILL haven’t done it. I mean, I had a bit of a smoothie phase in college, but promptly abandoned the notion that drinking my meals can be a good idea.

    And yet, I went over to the overnight oats camp….and it IS spring now….
    Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen recently posted..Pistachio Poo

  6. I agree with one of the commenters above … I like adding half of a frozen banana to my smoothies. It adds great flavor and texture!
    Kristen @ notsodomesticated recently posted..Red Face, Purple Nails, and Green Beer.

  7. I’ve tried so many variations of smoothies but I tend to revert back to banana, strawberry, spinach. I’ve been adding in protein powder, maca, and chlorella too. As for protein powder, I like Jarrow Unflavored Hemp Protein. Here’s a link I’ve never had any issues and it blends in very well. =)
    Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb recently posted..Comment on How I’ve Come To Love Vega One by BananaBuzzbomb

  8. I love smoothies. The ingredients I typically add are spinach, GY, Chocolate Revolution Whey Protein Powder, 1/2 banana, Flax Seeds and Ice to make it extra cold! One thing I really dislike in smoothies —> Blueberries. Although I love Blueberries in everything else! :)
    Kierston recently posted..Give Me A Break…

  9. Thanks for all the great ideas in this post! I almost always add banana to my smoothies, but now I’m curious to try out peaches. I can’t wait to try that this summer when they’re in season again! Other than banana, I also use Greek yogurt, milk, spinach, flaxseed, soy nut butter and sometimes berries in mine!
    Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin recently posted..Protein and exercise

  10. I don’t mind the taste of protein powder in my smoothies because the strong taste of banana over-powers it. Here’s my “recipe”:

  11. I put ANYTHING in my smoothies. :)

    Spinach and protein powders are a must. They almost always have some “creamy” component, which I find hides the any protein chalkiness. My favorites: bananas, avocados, butternut squash, or sweet potatoes. Flavorings can be berries, herbs, stevia, cherries, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom… whatever I have on hand!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted..Raspberry Baked Oatmeal To-Go

  12. I was never a smoothie drinker till I came up with this!
    Seriously, my husband and I are both obsessed and drink this for breakfast most days of the week.
    Cara recently posted..Passover Prep: Spiced Coconut-Almond Porridge with Chia, Hemp and Flax Seeds

  13. try life basics protein powder- vanilla. Or Biochem whey. Those 2 work wonders in smoothies. YUM!

  14. Ohhh I need to learn from you in the smoothie department! I have yet to get on that bandwagon but yours look so good and nutrient-dense, I love that! Show me the way, my friend! :)
    Jess recently posted..Training…by feel.

  15. I need to start doing more spinach smoothies. I think I’m still in the phase where I’m convinced that I can taste the spinach if I add to much so I only add a small handful. I’ll have to try the peaches! And I always use the chocolate whey protein powder from Whole Foods (the 3-6-5 brand) and I love it!
    Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health recently posted..Foods I’m Loving

  16. Okay, I may revisit the smoothie idea, since yours look so good and packed with goodness. I tend to shy away from them because they never truly fill me up. But these look great. I adore muscle milk light chocolate protein powder. It is really tasty and only 100 cals per scoop, which is music to my ears (without compromising protein grams!). I am picky about them too but this one I found and love. Suggestions on a good chocolate smoothie concoction?? Chia seeds – genius to add. Must try!
    jobo recently posted..It’s okay if the weekend is over…

  17. Green smoothies are just about the coolest things ever because you truly can’t taste the spinach! A lot of people seem skeptical when I tell them about the secret ingredient, but I always say, “don’t knock it till you try it!”

  18. You might consider “All the Whey” protein powder – it has absolutely no taste (which surprised me when I ordered it) and I use it for shakes, in pancake mix, muffins, etc.

    Tenecia recently posted..Sweat to Street Sunday #3

  19. I love smoothies! I haven’t had one in quite some time due to the cold weather. Now that it’s warming up, I’m ready to get back into them! I love adding spinach too. My fave combo is pb, banana, spinach and vanilla protein powder. I’m picking about the protein too, have you tried Pure Protein?

    I’ve found that this vanilla actually just makes things taste like vanilla…not like chalky powder!
    Rachel @ The Avid Appetite recently posted..My Favorite Quick Dinners

  20. I LOVE green monsters. I like a crapton of banana and orange to disguise the taste!
    Cat @ Breakfast to Bed recently posted..Getting In Bed With Don Draper

  21. I don’t know of any protein powders (I am still a newbie protein powder person)… but I think you are getting LOADS of great recommendations. Your smoothies look SUPER tasty! :)
    Rachel @RunningRachel recently posted..Tuesday’s Training Plan

  22. My smoothies vary with what I think I NEED and what I think my tastebuds would like.

    I have had really good luck with the GNC Whey ISO Burst powders… I did a recipe post on my blog yesterday for smoothies …
    Elle recently posted..2 Smoothies and a 5 km Run

  23. mmmmm i LOVE smoothies too! i almost always add a ripe banana to mine to make it extra creamy and a little sweeter. peanut butter is another one of my favorite smoothie ingredients. and i pretty much add spinach to every smoothie i make!
    Ashley @ My Food ‘N’ Fitness Diaries recently posted..Trainer Tuesday: Bring On The Circuits Full Body Workout

  24. I love making green smoothies! I have a vitamix and it is seriously the best for making them! I don’t have smoothies that often though because it is still cold where I live right now! I like adding chia seeds though for thickness or xanthan gum.
    Lisa recently posted..HIIT & A Workout

  25. When it comes to smoothies, I say the greener the better! I recently added kale to a smoothie and it was actually delicious! I thought it might taste bitter, but it was perfect. :)

    P.S. Email me so we can chat about Dirty Girl (the new healthy at gmail dot com) – do you know of anyone else who is doing Indy? :)
    Stefanie @TheNewHealthy recently posted..follow your heart

  26. Oh my gosh! I love nakd bars!! You will fall in love. I’m so jealous that we don’t have them over here.

  27. I’m on the lookout for a non chalky protein powder, too! Let me know if you find one :)
    Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) recently posted..Baby Girl at 6 Months Old

  28. I go through spurts with smoothies. I’ve found that it’s the best way to refuel for me after a long run. Usually nothing sounds good but I can stomach a smoothie. I try to pack as much nutrients as possible in it – spinach or kale, oats, chia, almond milk, banana, and berries. Sometimes I’ll add cocoa powder to it for a chocolate kick. You can’t go wrong with ’em!

    How did you get involved with the UK/US food blogger swap? That is so cool! Enjoy your treats!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Flirty Girl Fitness LIVE Review

  29. Love my smoothies! I have a VitaMix, so I love making them, too. I do a bunch of kale or mixed greens in mine and use coconut milk as a base. I also add fruit and Whey Cool protein powder. I like this brand b/c the process it w/o heat, so no MSG is created in the processing. And they have an unflavored version that I truly think has no taste, fyi.
    misszippy recently posted..Return to FHBC?

  30. Yes, I am 110% hooked on green smoothies! They were my breakfast almost every day last summer.
    Claire @ Live and Love to Eat recently posted..Spring Things

  31. I’ve heard great things about CLICK protein powder — it has a coffee taste — but have never had it.
    Lora @ Crazy Running Girl recently posted..WHY I LOVE SPRING

  32. Smoothies are a favorite of mine! :) I love them all year around!
    Healthiful Balance recently posted..Catching Up

  33. I am a smoothie drinker. It’s my go to breakfast! I’m a fruit smoothie girl… I like my weight watcher smoothie vanilla smoothie mix, skim milk, banana and strawberries. Sometimes I add different fruits for a little mix up. Super yummy! I’ve tried adding spinach, but just haven’t lately. I should do that again for a change! :)
    Lyndi recently posted..a glimpse of our weekend.

  34. I have brought back the smoothies with the commencement of spring. I have to say that I always use kale instead of spinach. I think it’s because once I had a bad experience wherein I tasted too much spinach. Now, it’s kale all the way! :)
    Susan (Oliepants) recently posted..Banana Cupcakes with Butterscotch Buttercream

  35. Garden of Life RAW protein powder is great! You really need to make sure it’s blended very well, but it’s perfect for smoothies. I took a hiatus from smoothies during winter but busted out the blender last weekend.

  36. Such a good idea for a post. All your smoothies look crazy good! I gotta bookmark this post for when I finally find it in me to try out some smoothie recipes
    Lily recently posted..A-Z Survey

  37. I’m a big fan of Whey Factors 100% Natural Whey Protein. I get it on Amazon and buy the unflavored, but have tried the Double Chocolate. I like to switch it up, but if you want no flavor, this brand rocks. I love Green Monsters and especially enjoy them in the warmer temperatures! Let me know if you try it out. I still haven’t tried adding oatmeal to mine yet.
    She Rocks Fitness recently posted..Terrific Tuesday Workout

  38. I love your evolution of smoothies! I usually put protein powder in my smoothies and go for Teras Way or Sunwarrior. The latter of which is just kind of a pain because you have to order online. And that swap looks so fun! I LOVED Eat Natural bars when I lived in London! They are kind of similar to KIND bars but I think they are better!
    Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola recently posted..A Springtime Afternoon Tea

  39. I can’t wait for summer because I get way more smoothie crazy.
    StoriesAndSweetPotatoes recently posted..Here A Tweet, There A Tweet

  40. Our ideal smoothies are very similar! I like peaches, OJ, spinach, and pea protein. I add oatmeal but I really don’t know if it keeps me fuller? Things that make you go hmmm….
    Carissa recently posted..Delicious Dinner Duo

  41. I love this evolution! I’ve been pestering my boyfriend – who has been juicing for like a month straight now – to add greens to his juice recipes and smoothies. I think a gradual progression is what he needs too…Who knows, maybe next year he’ll be drinking Green Monsters, too! :) recently posted..Stuffed

  42. we love all types of smoothies 😉 savory avocado ones to fruit ones!
    Pure2raw twins recently posted..chia protein pudding recipe

  43. Great evolution of the smoothie! I love almost any kind of smoothie but my favorite is chocolate peanut butter lol I actually had one today for lunch after my workout. I put in chocolate protein powder, oatmeal, chia, rice milk, peanut butter and ice (I might have added spinach but it went bad boo). It was good but I’m not sold on the rice milk yet. Usually have almond but ran out and was trying the rice one next.
    Angie @ Losing It and Loving It recently posted..Quinoa Burgers: Pizza Style

  44. Love this! I’m a huge smoothie person. And oddly I love the taste of protein powders even though I can tell that it’s just a weird flavor. I’ve never tried peaches! I’ll have to remember that one!
    Lauren @ Lawfully Wedded Wife recently posted..Nutella and Strawberry Stuffed Pastry Cups

  45. I love smoothies too! I added fresh peaches to mine all the time last summer…and your post has me craving one now! To be honest, the only protein powder I’ve ever bought is Trader Joe’s. I don’t really notice a chalky flavor, but I don’t know how it holds up to others either.
    Baking Serendipity recently posted..Walnut and Blackberry Waffle Sandwiches

  46. OK. I’m inspired. Gonna make a smoothie after Spinning.
    Meredith @ DareYouTo recently posted..WIAW: Snacks from Across the Pond

  47. I love putting spinach in my smoothies! :) I have been eating them after work since I get home kind of late, don’t feel like cooking, and want to get some sort of vegetable in as my dinner! It also satisfies my night time sweet tooth!
    Abby @ Abz ‘n’ Oats recently posted..good things

  48. i just started making more and more green smoothies lately. i recently tried kale and it actually was really good…kinda scared me at first hah. smoothies are good for me (especially veggie ones) bc i definitely dont get enough veggies…i need to work on that! recently posted..Local Food Expo

  49. (Late to the post, I know, but,,,)

    I’m obsessed with frozen bananas and plain Greek yogurt in my smoothies. I also love adding peanut or almond butter and then a bunch of other frozen/fresh fruit and juice. Frozen fruit’s great cause you don’t need any ice.

    Two of my fave smoothies: (one has chocolate and coffee…shhh!)
    Alex @ Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Foodiness recently posted..Gluten-free cookies that actually taste like…cookies! — The Butterfly Bakery review


  1. […] post The Evolution of a Smoothie talks about her love for smoothies and how she’s progressed from a smoothie made with just […]

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